Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Monster Tamer Girls Vol. 1 by Mujirushi Shimazaki

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*No Major Spoilers* 

When giant monsters roam the earth, “wildlife care” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s where the Tamers come in–girls trained to soothe the savage beasts. But while co-existence is a way of life, it’s still a little overwhelming for meek Ion Hidaka. Can she handle being one of the newest members of the Tatara Girls’ Academy Tamers Committee?

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I have been reading mangas for the past several years. Most of the ones I’ve read are good, but just like anything else, there are a few outliers. However, Monster Tamer Girls isn’t an outlier in the slightest. So let’s dive into this unique monster story. 

First off, I loved our main characters, Ion Hidaka and Sora Misumaru. Ion has a talent for befriending the monsters she meets, and yet she’s still terrified of them. Her best friend, Sora, isn’t interested in becoming a monster tamer, but she’s there to support her friend every step of the way.

I even loved the background characters. I wanted to learn more about the former members of the Monster Tamer Committee, but hopefully, the author will explore this in future volumes. All in all, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like for one reason or another. 

The monsters are adorable. I know they are supposed to be large and scary like Godzilla and Mothra, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the monsters in this story. The monsters appear in a more cartoony style. For example, the monster that lives by the school his horns don’t look sharp, his eyes look mean, but throughout the story, he’s just a lethargic monster.

Overall, I enjoyed Monster Tamer Girls. The characters are dynamic, and the monsters are cute and loveable. I would highly recommend this manga for lovers of Kaiju, and the Slice of Life genre. 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire by Wesley Allison

Good afternoon everyone, my name is Alex Dickson, I’m Elisha’s fiance and I’m doing a guest review of a book out of one of my favorite book series. His Robot Wife: Patience Under Fire is an excellent book let’s just start there. I’ll tell you why as we get into the review. Please note there may be some spoilers.

Okay to start off this is a continuation of the story of Mike Smith and his family from the last 5 books in the series. This book continues on starting off with Mike’s son, Lucas in the military out on the front lines. With it starting following Lucas through his battle in Russia just him and his Robot soldiers around him, he’s having it rough out there.

As we go along with the story this book kind of flip-flops between different sections of different characters’ lives. It kind of does it like a movie where it’s written like scenes, multiple scenes in each chapter.

As we continue through the book we learn various things about what’s going on with Patience, Mike, his daughter Harriet, Lucas and his wife as well as a couple of the other cast of the series. When we move over the story of Patience and Mike supposedly the ATF&R (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Robots) are wanting to question Mike and Patience. Patience is the robot wife to Mike and if you’ve ever read the previous books in the series you will have learned Patience was able to reprogram herself to make herself “Free”. When Patience learns of this she takes off without telling Mike where she’s going, but leaves in place, without anyone’s knowledge an exact copy of Patience to take care of Mike.

The story eventually flips to Harriet finally getting out to start dating again and she ends up going out with a tattoo artist, he’s a nice guy and she really likes him, they have a lot of fun together for about the first 3 dates, she eventually drops him off and she forgets to tell him something so she runs back up to his apartment and catches him getting blown by his robot maid. So he tries to explain his way out of it and so far she’s having none of it.

At another point in the story Lucas gets pulled from deployment and sent home with commendations and he finally gets to see his wife, Haruka once again and the rest of his family. Everyone was so delighted to see him and he was especially delighted to see his wife once again.

There’s a critical plot point that I’m about to discuss without going into too much detail just because it’d be a major spoiler, but there’s a point where this robot under a different name takes a trip to Canada for an at first unspecified reason, but she takes a trip to a hub station where the various Daffodil robots’ software is distributed around North America. It’s a really interesting part to the story, but I’m sure it will tie in more into the next book.

I know my thoughts here feel incomplete, but I’m trying to tell about the book without giving too much away and I know my thoughts seem random because I don’t want to give away the order of everything. This is an excellent book and I think any sci-fi/fantasy nerd with an interest in a bit of romance and adventure may like.

But yeah, there’s a lot to this book series and not just this book alone, if you start at the beginning of the series with His Robot Girlfriend you’ll learn how everything begins to lead from one place to the next.

Anyway this series has kept me entertained for the last 6-7 years and I always look forward to the next book in the series. I don’t know if this series will ever conclude, but it’s always a fun read. Like I said I recommend this to anyone that’s into a sci-fi/fantasy style romance adventure. There’s a lot of adventure and different scenes to be had in this series. I like the writing and how it all plays out like a movie, I personally think this entire series could be turned into at least 2-3 feature length films with the amount of story as there is right now.

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Posted in Movie/TV Reviews

REVIEW: Dorohedoro

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*No Spoilers* 

*This anime is rated R/MA for Blood, Violence, and Nudity*

In a city so dismal it’s known only as “the Hole,” a clan of Sorcerers has been plucking people off the streets to use as guinea pigs for atrocious “experiments” in the black arts. In a dark alley, Nikaidou found Caiman, a man with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. To undo the spell, they’re hunting and killing the Sorcerers in the Hole, hoping that eventually they’ll kill the right one. But when En, the head Sorcerer, gets word of a lizard-man slaughtering his people, he sends a crew of “cleaners” into the Hole, igniting a war between two worlds. – IMDb

I first saw the trailer for Dorohedoro on Netflix, and I thought it looked interesting. I don’t mind violence or gore in anime, but there is so much more to this anime than meets the eye.

I had so many questions I had no clue what was going on in the beginning. No matter how little I was understanding, I couldn’t stop watching. Even as Caiman and Nikaido explain what goes on in their universe, I had more questions. For example, why does everyone in this world wear a mask when they go out? Is privacy a significant concern in this universe?

Even though I had only minor questions about the world surrounding the characters, I think the writers did a great job handling the mystery surrounding Caiman, but keeping several cards close to their chest for the next season.

Overall, I found Dorohedoro to be a fantastic anime; the characters are great; there is plenty of humor amongst all the violence. I can’t wait to dive back in when Netflix releases season 2 next year.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street by Lauren Oliver

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*No Major Spoilers*

Cordelia Clay loves the work she and her father do together: saving and healing the remarkable creatures around Boston at the end of the nineteenth century. Their home on Cedar Street is full to the brim with dragons, squelches, and Diggles, and Cordelia loves every one of them.

But their work must be kept secret—others aren’t welcoming to outsiders and immigrants, so what would the people of Boston do to the creatures they call “monsters”?

One morning, Cordelia awakens to discover that her father has disappeared—along with nearly all the monsters.

With only a handful of clues and a cryptic note to guide her, Cordelia must set off to find out what happened to her father, with the help of her new friend Gregory, Iggy the farting filch, a baby dragon, and a small zuppy (zombie puppy, that is).

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First off, I’d like to say, if you are a fan of the monsters and creatures in the Harry Potter universe, this theme gets expanded tenfold. Even though most monsters are only mentioned in passing, I feel this monster-filled world is just as fleshed out as in Harry Potter.

To imagine our world is filled with creatures that are only featured in mythology and fairy tales reminds me of the Pokemon video games, just without the animal abuse. The world feels so strange and alien since Cordelia was sheltered growing up in a house full of monsters.

One small nitpick I had early on was the similarities between the father and daughter’s names. I had to go back and reread sections because I got the two mixed up. Although to make up for it, I’m impressed at how the author gets us to bond with Cordelia and Cornelius and makes the disappearance more impactful without wasting our time.

As Cordelia’s search for her father and the monsters continues, I love all of the hijinx and misadventures the characters get into. In one case, Cordelia finds herself at a traveling circus that boasts a freak show of monsters. For Cordelia to think this circus as her monsters almost instantly, shows how young and somewhat immature she is.

I love the ending of this story, it wrapped everything up all nice and neat. Everyone learned from the struggles faced on the adventures shows through. Even Cornelius learns from his mistakes and moves on from the loss of his wife. So if you’re looking for a novel with a happy ending, you’ll find it here.

Although I know this is a children’s chapter book, I feel the issues discussed are appropriate for all ages. Friendship, racism, and growing up in a world that looks down upon the “lesser than”. Big issues discussed in appropriate ways.

I would recommend this for lovers of fantasy, monsters, and a coming of age story that’s worth the read. The Monsters of Cedar Street is a fun read for readers of all ages.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Green Ember (The Green Ember #1) by S.D. Smith

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*No Major Spoilers*

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

“All of life is a battle against fear. We fight it on one front, and it sneaks around to our flank.” He paused, looked kindly at her. “Yes, Father. I understand.” “I regret many things I’ve done,” he said, “but most of all I regret those moments when I said to Fear, ‘You are my master.”
S.D. Smith, The Green Ember

If you have even heard of the classic children’s book, Watership Down, then I would add The Green Ember to your “to be read” list! This novel runs in a similar vein to Watership Down in that it’s about displaced rabbits who have to fight for survival. Although not as dark or grim as the classic, The Green Ember tells a story of survival, betrayal, loss, and overcoming obstacles.

The story is mostly told from Heather’s perspective, even though Picket sits in the narrator’s seat from time to time. Heather and Picket’s learning about how the real world for all rabbits really works, and their family history, feels genuine and real.

I enjoyed this story a lot, all of the characters are well developed, and the history for the rabbit colonies was well fleshed out. I could tell the author put a lot of love and care into the mythos of this world. My most memorable character other than the siblings was the wise elderly rabbit, Maggie Weaver. She is a mother/grandmotherly figure to those who live in the community. She is the fastest sewer, and she gives the rabbits a shoulder to lean on when times are rough.

!!This might be a small spoiler, so be warned!!

Near the end of the novel, Ms. Weaver makes an astounding speech to all of the rabbits. Reminding them she is just another elderly rabbit. She doesn’t see herself in this grandiose way that the rest of the colony seem to view her. She lost her husband in the fall of the last king, and she reminds the other rabbits that she is no one special.

This is a children’s illustrated chapter book. However, I listened to the audiobook and the audiobook was just as amazing as reading the ebook. I would definitely say that this novel is appropriate for most ages. The violence is PG, or in video game terms E10+. There is no bad language, so the only thing for parents to worry about is violence.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Green Ember. I would highly recommend it for a nice family read. I would also recommend this for lovers of fantasy, animal protagonists, and of course, rabbits.